It took the Penguins falling behind 1-0 in the third period and over 45 minutes into the game before they broke through with three goals in the third, en route to a 3-2 win over the hapless Arizona Coyotes.
The Penguins scored three goals in a 3:54 span, including two power play goals. Daniel Winnik scored his ninth of the season at 7:16 of the period and Sidney Crosby, Steve Downie added power play goals in the third. Crosby’s power play marker at 11:24 that put the Penguins up 3-1, was the eventual game winner.
Crosby led the way with a goal, two assists and leads the NHL with 78 points.
The Penguins (93 pts) get the two points and move into a tie with the Islanders (93 pts) for second place in the Metropolitan Division and Pittsburgh has a game in hand. Washington (90 pts) lost at home to Nashville 4-3.
Anything that matters today is Kris Letang’s health. The star defenseman looked to have suffered a bad head injury after having the back of his head slam into the boards on a hit from Shane Doan.
The hit was somewhat late but Letang also put himself in a vulnerable position as he was trying to make a home run pass. The timing of when the puck left Letang’s stick and when contact was made from Doan, happens all time in games, but a push from Doan after making the hit is what sent Letang flying.
Letang who has past concussion issues, was in very bad shape and certainly had the look of a player who was out of it as he was tended to on the ice for several minutes by the Penguins staff.
“Never want to see something like that,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said afterwards. “We’re hoping he turns out fine,”
Letang is currently at the hospital being evaluated, head coach Mike Johnston said. Johnston noted sometimes injuries look really bad like Letang’s and 24 hours later, the player is fine or the injury isn’t as severe as it appeared. That’s the Penguins hope here.
Pittsburgh finished the game with 11 forwards, 5 defensemen as Blake Comeau was ejected in the first period.